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February 24, 2014

30-Day Challenge: Stress, Self and Better Health: Exercise and Diet

 

WEEK FOUR

 

We have all had it drilled into us that healthy eating and exercise are critical to a balance in life. Yet some people exercise too much, some not at all, and some people exercise and feel stressed by it. Where do you lie in that continuum? How do you understand and define healthy eating? Do you find yourself going on diets to lose weight and then gaining weight back again? Do you desire to eat healthy? What does that mean to you? Is it a lifestyle or a temporary diet change? To exercise and eat healthy is to bring balance into your life but when exercise and healthy eating are not clearly defined, it can actually lead to stress and imbalance rather than balance in your life.

 

Stress, Self and Better Health: Exercise and Diet

 

Let’s start with exercise. How do you define exercise? And, once you’ve defined it, how do you exercise? Is it easy for you to initiate exercise? Is exercise on your daily calendar? How is it on your daily calendar? It is important to know what you enjoy and don’t enjoy. You may not think you enjoy ANY physical activity. If so, is there any activity that you enjoy watching? Or is there someone whose activity is of some interest to you? There are many ways to find your form of exercise!

 

Not many people exercise in a way that is freeing of stress and complementary to their health. Why? They are exercising because they think they should, they’re exercising because they want the external results, they are exercising to stay away from emotions, and so much more. For some, exercising is truly enjoyable. Are you one of the many who would like to exercise but can’t seem to get started or stay consistent? If you are pushing your self to do something that is counter to your desires oftentimes you will have those results. Again, to bring things into balance you need to know where you are in conflict with your desires and interests.

 

Eating healthy is another interesting dilemma for many. There are many ways to eat healthy. It can be an individual style. When do you find you are least apt to eat healthy: when you are in a rush, hurting, angry, etc.? Those influences must be honored before you can design a healthy eating lifestyle that brings balance into your life. Foods that you like and don’t like are important to acknowledge. Foods that your body does not tolerate need to be addressed as well. Do you tend to eat until you feel full? Do you not eat enough? Do you binge? When there are imbalances in what you “should” be eating and what you find yourself eating, you must stop and ask why?

 

What you eat and how you exercise influences your emotional, physical, and spiritual health. It is a vital part to balance in your life. Yet, by not seeing your internal balance with food and exercise, you could be adding an extra layer of imbalance in your already-stressed life!

 

Your challenge this week is to list the pros and cons of your current exercise program. If you don’t have one, then list what an ideal exercise program would be for you (be as creative as you’d like!). Now, pick 3 things you would like to change about your eating and/or 3 things you like about your eating. List your favorite must-have foods.

 

January 29, 2014

The Ugly Spiral Of Negative Self Talk

Damn!! I can’t believe I did that. How stupid! … You LOST weight! But I surely FOUND it!

 

How often do you find yourself talking poorly to your Self? Too often people say, whisper, or think negatively of their Self – negative self talk. Sometimes it is so progressed that it happens without awareness. It isn’t that people want to talk harshly to themselves, it is just something that is familiar and learned. People don’t like it when others talk badly about them, judge them, or hurt them. People would rather experience kind words from others. They want to be liked, believed in, and heard. And similarly, they must then learn to talk positively to themselves. Let’s look at the negative self talk and its affects and then address positive self talk and how it can be brought to the forefront.

 

In order to talk negatively to your Self you must have learned such judgements and labels. It is of your past. And so, the negative self talk is one way you keep yourself from living in the present. Negative self talk keeps you in your past – in those challenges that keep you from true happiness. It is driven by fear of not being good enough or shame. That means that it is not part of who you truly are. It is what you assimilated from everyone else and is how you are carrying them around with you daily!!

 

How might it serve you to judge and criticize your Self so harshly? (Don’t say it doesn’t!) At some level you may be trying to master those very judgements. Or, you may be looking for the indirect compliments that come when someone says “No you aren’t,” or “Don’t talk to yourself that way.” Whatever it is, it is not comforting you. The negative thoughts are destroying your Self and its identity, confidence, and esteem. They are fueling the very insecurities that you would love to live without. Those insecurities keep you from life’s happiness and fulfillment. Which would you rather experience – laughter and joy or loneliness and sadness? Which do you think you’re feeding when you talk negatively to your Self?

 

The more you live in judgment of your Self, the more you are living with a fear of judgment from others. Further, the more you live in judgment of your Self, the more you are judging others. Consequently, if you are judging your Self AND others you are doubling up on feeding the fears that YOU are being judged. Ah! That is not a path to happiness!

 

The judgments and criticisms of your self talk are anchored in your fear-based emotions. Fear feeds on your thinking and then feeds your fear-based thinking. That means the negative self talk feeds upon itself and grows and picks up speed. Much like any fear does – it spirals rapidly. If those thoughts and comments are increasing in your daily existence, then how are they affecting your perceptions of the world around you? Negatively!! Further, if your perceptions are your reality then your reality is pretty negative. Ugh!

 

As you go forward, listen for your negative thoughts, comments, etc. and say to your Self – “STOP!” Saying stop breaks the momentum and alerts you to the negative self talk. That awareness is the biggest step. Then ask your Self if you would allow someone to talk to your child in the way you just spoke to your Self. Hear and feel the “No.” There are several things you can do at this point to begin the healing, but that’s for another forum. It is critical that the awareness grows so you can slow the talk before you begin any further steps in healing.

 

Once you’ve said “Stop,” it is time to insert a positive comment. Even if all you can say is “You didn’t deserve that” or “No you aren’t (that),” you have started a positive trend. Positive energy and thinking is more addictive than the fear or negative thoughts! So, the quicker you get started the quicker you begin your path to freedom. As your self talk becomes more and more positive your day will be perceived as more and more positive and people will be more positive around you. And so it goes.

 

There are several things you can do to help the positive self talk. Make a list of positives about your Self. Make another list of what you would like to hear another say to you. Keep the lists handy for positive self talk after you “stop” the negative thought. Compliment your Self when you complete something or do anything successfully. It doesn’t matter how minor the event. Remember, you could stub your toe and rip your Self up over that little event!! Positive thoughts and verbiage help you develop your dreams, your happiness and your freedom!

 

I’ll leave you with these two thoughts, one is a beautiful quote and the other is a video. I want you to ask your Self after the video, “Don’t you deserve to feel this way about your Self?”

 

“Thoughts Become Things… Choose The Good Ones!”
― Mike Dooley

 

November 6, 2013

Comfort Food ?

 

It’s common conversation to talk about comfort foods. We all get a picture of certain foods when it is mentioned. Very few imagine healthy food from a living source for their comfort foods (unless it is a vegan recipe for macaroni and cheese or coconut macaroons). Still the concept of comfort foods as we have become accustomed in this country, are those foods that, for the most part, are “man made”. Let’s ponder a possible reason.

 

First let’s address the emotions that need to be comforted. All people have the same emotions. It is a universal language. We can take all of the emotions and divide them into love-based and fear-based emotions. The love-based emotions are love, acceptance, peace, joy, unity, etc. The fear-based emotions are fear, anger, hurt, loneliness, guilt, shame, rejection, attachment, etc. We can agree that most do not seek comfort when feeling love-based emotions. Therefore, most seek comfort when feeling fear-based emotions.

 
 

Let’s go one step further in our understanding of emotions in life. The love-based emotions are considered light. In fact, they make most of us feel light, open, and expansive. The fear-based emotions are dense and dark. They, in turn, make most of us feel burdened, closed, and small. It is the fear-based emotions that allow us to feel weighted down and, yet, at times, empty. It is the fear-based emotions that allow us to feel imbalanced, ungrounded, not centered. Consequently, it is the fear-based emotions (now called stress) that lead to illness and injury.

 

Let’s return to the topic at hand. If we are feeling a fear-based emotion (or 10) and are looking for comfort, you would think we would reach for love. Yet, when we are lonely, we tend to push people away and lock ourselves further into the loneliness. Right? As another example, when we are depressed we want to shrink back and die. We do not want to access help even though we wish for the rescue from the pain. This is how the fear-based emotions stay alive. They feed off of the fear within us. So, it is starting to make sense that our fear-based emotions would guide us to pick up foods that are equally destructive. Foods that would feed the very fear that is thriving inside. Food that is altered by processing. Food that was invented to create an addiction.

 

Let’s take a sidebar. Addiction. Addiction represents a person’s core fears. People have known for thousands of years that fear creates attachment to the very pain that is creating the fear in the first place. It is circular.

 

That being said, it is when we are feeling pain, out of sorts, out of balance, and/or not centered that we reach for the comfort foods (the addictive foods) that feed those very emotions. We reach for the very foods that feed the imbalance and any irregular cells in our body that are called cancer. We aren’t feeling good so we don’t want good food. We are feeling bad and want the “food we shouldn’ t eat” — the bad food. It is why we are hearing western medicine now say that stress causes or is a cause of cancer and illness.

 

In conclusion, when we are experiencing fear-based emotions in this life, we can understand why we reach for those foods that are most harmful to our health — they feed the fear! In the future, when we are feeling fear-based emotions and want to reach for comfort foods, let us stop for a moment and acknowledge the emotion. Let’s agree to ask ourselves, “If I had a child who was hurting right now, would I give them harmful foods or would I hold them and help heal their pain?” Then, maybe, we will pick up an apple or almonds and comfort ourselves with softness from within. That is when the healing of our pain will truly begin.

 

October 17, 2013

Success and Anorexia

Many strong, successful career women seem to have had eating disorders in their past. And many of those women seem to have married or are dating men who are much more attentive to the home and children. It is as if the roles and definitions have been reversed.

 

In my experiences, it appears that, in general, strong ambitious women do not learn how to define themselves in this culture so they identify with men in their need to find acceptance. When young, they may struggle with their female curves and body and, more often than not, work to eliminate it with the eating disorder. It seems to be of continued importance for them to maintain an attractive figure and appearance in adulthood. They also continue to develop a more male-oriented position in life through career and providing. They tend to have a hidden judgment about being taken care of and so make sure they do not need to be “taken care of” by providing for the family. It may be important for them to feel in control. Again, this may be due to the need to identify with a man’s world and find acceptance through being good enough.

 

But why do they tend to marry or date less ambitious men? It appears to represent their need to feel accepted without having to work so hard at it; to be able to relax and not take things so seriously. It appears to be a compliment to their intensity. It is as if they are learning to love the very part of themselves they used to hate. As if they are accepting the very characteristics in their partner that they desperately needed accepted in their Self as a child.

 

More often than not, however, the relationship appears to take on an abusive quality. That again, goes back to the days of the eating disorder. The control of the eating, was the struggle to stay away from the judgment of not being good enough. It is that very judgment that creates shame in an individual. The judgments may also allow the woman to feel unaccepted and, consequently, not belonging to the family or group. The shame and absence of belonging are two consistent characteristics in the abuse pattern in an individual.

 

A woman of this experience may be struggling internally with being good enough and may still be looking for extrinsic rewards or reinforcers to confirm that she is good enough to be loved, accepted. Part of this may be due to the perception that in our society, women need to shut down their female aspects to succeed in business. This leaves an internal feeling of not being good enough because as a woman you cannot be who you are. It may also be that the very shame that developed in them as young women interrupted their ability to define their Self and lead to the eating disorder or more. Or, maybe, as an ambitious female, her role models were males and so she learned to shut down her female aspects to be more like a man in order to be accepted by men. This suggests women may perceive that they cannot be accepted into a man’s world for who they are and so need to be like a man to be accepted as a professional among them. It may then be more clear that they would choose a partner who is complimentary, supportive, and caring of who they are.

 

As women begin defining their Self from an intrinsic point of reference, they will begin to accept their Self for who they are which will lead to feeling accepted by others and, consequently, society. Women will then pass forward the defining of self for self and by self. This will end women defining themselves through men. I believe the ending of women defining their self through men will also have an impact on the numbers of eating disorders. Just think, mothers and women will no longer press their daughters and younger women (respectively) to be thin in order to be loved, they will begin teaching a healthy lifestyle that embraces the unique characteristics of each child. Something so many women want and try to achieve.

 

October 9, 2013

Women and Their Body

Most women would love to be known for who they are and loved for who they are. Yet, in our culture, what defines an attractive woman is her appearance and what defines an attractive man is his achievement. In a heterosexual environment, most men will never meet the beautiful woman who resides in a body that men or society deem as “not so perfect”. And yet, a woman will meet a good man who resides in a not-so-perfect body.

 

Who defines a woman’s body as beautiful? It does not appear to be women. Women work very hard and spend billions of dollars annually to create a body they feel will be good enough for our society’s definition of beautiful. Did women truly agree that a beautiful body is one that requires intense work and surgery to maintain?

 

Women very often hate their body. They are more often than not in a state of judging their body rather than loving their body. Women learn this. They learn that their body is a public viewing of how they are not good enough — not good enough to be accepted or loved. It appears to be an experience that gets handed down through mother to daughter! That suggests that women have bought into a patriarchal view that is destructive of them. A view that appears to say, “As a woman you will never be good enough to be a man.” It is the men in society that dictate what an attractive body type is. It is women who agree to attempt to create it. Consequently, it is the women who suffer the consequences of failing to meet the male expectation. What would happen if women decided to set their own standard of what their beautiful body is?

 

In order for that to happen, women would have to feel their own power. Women have learned to hide their power and play the roles dictated by a patriarchal society. Part of the hiding comes from the historic obedience to men’s desires that women have accepted. Obedience, however, only occurs as a survival mechanism. It appears to be a large part of the survival mechanism that has been learned and ingrained in women for more than 2000 years. Women have been teaching girls and other women how to be obedient to society’s expectations for a very long time. For example, in Florida the schools are now doing a brief physical on the children and sending letters to parents to notify them of overweight and obese children based up on the body-mass index. In a middle school a female athlete was sent home with a letter to give to her mother that said she was overweight. Unfortunately, they had her height off by 2 inches!! the mother of this particular student was very supportive and notified the school but what would have been the repercussions had that young, fit, healthy, teenager read the letter and had no support that allowed her see the error at MANY levels!!

 

It has been shown and discussed that women are not attractive when they are ambitious and intelligent (e.g., Miss Representation, 2012). Society has been trained to view an attractive woman as a sexy, thin woman not necessarily a healthy, conservative woman. This sets a stage for women to shy away from developing a sense of professional self. She tends to feel there is a conflict between professional and woman. Just the other day, I was sitting in a business meeting when one of the men stood to give a testimonial about the women in the group. His testimonial was that the women in the group are beautiful and manage to get up early enough for the early meeting to put on their make-up!! Seventy percent of the women were appalled and angry, while 30% giggled and thought it was funny!! All of the women in the group are high-powered business owners or professional (attorneys, doctors, etc.). Even many women who are successful in a corporate environment either shut down their sexuality and dress androgynously or overstate their sexuality and dress provocatively. Why? Because both extremes develop out of a focus on the image of what they are not. Why have women not developed a style that “suits” them in the business world. Each person can develop their own insignia rather than blending into the masses or the expectations. This is where women can begin to teach one another a new way of expressing their professional self.

 

It is in women choosing to define their Self that change will begin. Women must be willing to know what they want to experience and be willing to create that very experience. Women will need to help each other develop that confidence and inner knowing of who they are in order to initiate change in the cultural view of what they are. It is then that women will be known and loved for who they are from the inside out.

 

I am SO VERY UPSET!! We realized, in choosing a picture to represent this article that we could choose a horrific picture of an anorexic women or a media-based picture of a woman. I wanted this beautiful woman:

 

But the people of our culture have been programmed to KNOW the media’s view of women or be captured by hideous horror. It is the only view that will capture the attention of the public! So, even in my office, we chose a picture that would catch the public’s eye. How awful is this situation?! Please let me know your thoughts!

 

Please contact KB@KristenBomas.com if you have any questions about services, topics or products.

Kristen Bomas, PA
398 Camino Gardens Blvd., Suite 104
Boca Raton, Florida 33432
Phone: (561) 212-7575
Email: KB@KristenBomas.com

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Photography by Walter
"Two Eagles" Smith

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